This article was published in the Winter 2021 issue

by Emily Fonnesbeck, Editor, Silicon Slopes Magazine

2020. By now you’ve heard the gamut of phrases people have used to describe last year, and most of us have a bit of whiplash from the events that transpired in those months. For me, the days were long and the months were short. Looking back, there are plenty of things for me to choose from that were hard or made my life difficult- online school for three boys is in the top five. But if I choose to look past those thorns in my side, I’m able to see that, in so many ways, 2020 refined us.

Part of my job at Silicon Slopes includes talking to CEOs, Presidents, executives, and founders, and from the million-dollar company to the lean startup, I heard a lot of positivity coming through. One theme rang out that I heard again and again: the Utah business community is special. It’s something that we can’t quite put our finger on, but we all know it’s there. Outsiders told me how they’d never seen the sense of community like they see in Utah. The people are driven, determined, and while they strive for success, they aren’t cutthroat competitive. I heard from business owners that are Utah natives, faced with challenges because of Covid, telling me how they pivoted, had help from colleagues and friends in the community, and stayed intact.

I interviewed founders that, even in this time of uncertainty, stayed the course and achieved funding for their business and their dreams. Businesses that could no longer function in a socially distanced world did a 180, shifting, changing, and adapting. There were major acquisitions, funding rounds, and (virtual) grand openings. There were completely incredible innovations, new launches, and announcements. We pressed on, and we did it together.

We understand all too well that 2020 left many of our fellow Utahns in dire circumstances. We mourn with those who lost their incomes, their businesses, their lives. The loss was great, and as a team and community, we are here to comfort, lift, and rebuild where we can.

In this issue you’ll find articles from companies that learned hard lessons in 2020. In the following pages you can read about flying privately, using tech to help you exercise effectively, and how women can level up in their business. These stories are inspiring, and I encourage you to read and learn from each one. I think you’ll see that although there have been trials, Utah’s future is sweet.


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